By Jim Fair

The Holy See is committed to addressing climate change through emission reduction and education in integral ecology, Pope Francis pledged on December 12, 2020.

The Holy Father made his remarks in a video message to UN’s virtual climate change summit.

“The current pandemic and climate change, which have not only environmental but also ethical, social, economic, and political relevance, affect above all the life of the poorest and most fragile,” the Pope said. “In this way, they appeal to our responsibility to promote, through collective and joint commitment, a culture of care, which places human dignity and the common good at the center.”

According to Pope Francis, the Holy See is taking two specific actions to address climate change.

First, Vatican City State is committed to reducing net emissions to zero before 2050.

Second, the Vatican is promoting education in integral ecology.

“The moment has come for a change of direction,” Francis concluded. “Let us not rob the new generations of their hope in a better future.”

Following is the full text of the video, provided by the Vatican.

The current pandemic and climate change, which have not only environmental but also ethical, social, economic, and political relevance, affect above all the life of the poorest and most fragile. In this way, they appeal to our responsibility to promote, through collective and joint commitment, a culture of care, which places human dignity and the common good at the center.

Aside from adopting various measures that cannot be postponed any further, a strategy is necessary to reduce net emissions to zero (net-zero emission).

The Holy See joins in this aim, moving on two levels:

1. On the one hand, Vatican City State is committed to reducing net emissions to zero before 2050, intensifying the efforts at environmental management that have already been in process for some years, and which make possible the rational use of natural resources such as water and energy, energy efficiency, sustainable mobility, reforestation, and the circular economy also in waste management.

2. On the other, the Holy See is committed to promoting education in integral ecology. Political and technical measures must be united with an educational process that favors a cultural model of development and sustainability based on fraternity and the alliance between the human being and the environment. From this perspective, I inaugurated the Global Education Pact to accompany Catholic schools and universities, attended by more than seventy million students in all continents, and I have supported the “Economy of Francesco”, through which young economists, businesspeople, and experts in finance and the world of work promote new pathways to overcome energy poverty, which place care for common goods at the center of national and international politics, and which favor sustainable production also in countries with a low income, sharing appropriate advanced technologies.

The moment has come for a change of direction. Let us not rob the new generations of their hope in a better future. Thank you.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

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